Originally published January 20 2009
Vegetarian Author John Robbins Financially Hit Hard by Madoff Ponzi Scheme Collapse
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) The $50 billion Ponzi scheme operated by Wall Street criminal Bernie Madoff has reportedly struck a victim in the vegetarian foods community: John Robbins, author of Diet For A New America and other popular food culture books has been reportedly wiped out.
A letter on VegSource.com (http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/robbins_h...) asks readers to send money to Robbins and help him and his wife pay their mortgage, saying "To economize, the family has rented out every extra room in their house and every spare space on their property. Still, it is not clear if they will be able to pay their mortgage or keep the property they share with their son, his wife and their two grandsons. Both Michelle and Deo have taken on part time jobs, and Deo has also taken over the formerly paid for day care for their special needs grandchildren."
I'm not sure what to make of all this, actually. Robbins is a legend in the health food movement, and I tremendously admire and respect his work. He's a hugely inspiring, uplifting individual who should probably be put in charge of the USDA in my opinion.
I'm not sure that his investment loss rises to the level of a grassroots call for action, however. What's essentially happening here, folks, is that the vegetarian community is being asked by VegSource.com to raise bailout money to reimburse Robbins for personal investment losses.
If Robbins were having his freedom or his health threatened, that would be different. I'd be the first to jump to his aid and ask for grassroots donations. I'd do the same for any number of other visionary leaders of the health revolution movement. But should the natural health community members really be asked to raise bailout money for one individual (even a visionary leader) that got taken by Wall Street?
You can voice your opinion below by posting in the comment section. If you wish to send a donation to support Robbins, you can send it to John Robbins, c/o Patti Breitman, 12 Rally Court, Fairfax, CA 94930. Make the check out to John Robbins.
If Robbins were in danger of having his freedom threatened (if he were arrested by the FTC, for example), or if his health were in jeopardy, I would be among the first to jump to his aid. But is it really appropriate to call for a grassroots fundraising campaign to reimburse a celebrity author for riches they lost due to a bad or unlucky investment decision?
Robbins is in no way starving, after all. And the money he lost is likely a sizable fortune that most health-conscious consumers could never hope to save in a lifetime. Robbins is simply experiencing the same financial disaster that has befallen countless other Americans with far poorer prospects for earning it back.
In fact, what Madoff did to Robbins, the Fed is doing to everybody!
None of us are going to escape this financial implosion unscathed. We would all do well to focus on what's important in life: Health, family, spirituality and purpose. And in that department, Robbins is steeped in great riches.
By the way, just so you know I'm not adhering to some sort of double standard here, I'm currently living on less than $1,000 a month in expenses. That's because I sold my house in 2006 (before the crash), and I recently moved to a small, simple house with a single-car garage, donating away entire truckloads of belongings I had been clinging to for years. It was a spiritually freeing experience, and I've found so much greater happiness living a simple, low-cost life than I ever experienced when I used to live in a large home filled with stuff. I've come to realize that the bigger your house, the poorer you really are because your stuff owns you!
I have no debt, no mortgage and virtually no furniture other than a bed, a couch and a computer desk. I own no jewelry (other than a wedding ring) and no fancy decorations. I drive a Toyota and my wife and I make most of our own food at home, using simple, low-cost ingredients. This transformation has occurred in the last two years. In 2006, for example, I lived in a magnificent home with an expensive mortgage and lots of nice stuff. I gave all that up and found much greater happiness and a lot less stress living a simple, low-cost lifestyle that's 100% free from debt and credit card bills.
Robbins gets that. He's the kind of transformative individual that, if forced to sell his house and live in a tent, would likely manage to find great inspiration in it. He'd write his next bestselling book based on the spiritual enlightenment gleaned from the situation, and the royalties on that book would earn him new financial riches that could once again pay the mortgage.
Losing money sucks. Losing ALL your money sucks even worse. But Robbins has not lost his health, his incredible mental capacity, his family, his freedom or his remarkable ability to write bestselling books and earn his way back to significant riches.
In other words, Robbins' worst day is better than the best days of many people. And while sending a check to Robbins right now is a wonderful expression of human compassion for someone who lost a fortune, I can think of a long list of other people in far more devastating circumstances who need the money more. I also believe Robbins likely agrees with everything I'm saying in this article, and it's worth noting that he himself never asked anybody for financial assistance. This is being done on his behalf by VegSource.com, most likely without his knowledge or permission.
This is a fascinating moral issue that I think deserves discussion among the natural health community. The question is: What should be the criteria for calling for a grassroots campaign to raise money for an individual or a cause?
Personally, I do not believe that an individual's private financial investment decisions, no matter how bad the outcome, rise to a level that should trigger a call for a grassroots fundraising campaign from the health-conscious community. You may disagree, and that's fine. If you do disagree, please share your own process for deciding where to donate money. Should donations be based on need? Celebrity status? Popularity? Emotional connection? If Al Gore lost his fortune on Wall Street, would you donate money to Al Gore? I don't mean these questions to be satirical in any way. They are serious, mindful questions asked here with all sincerity.
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